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How Vikram Gulecha & his team are providing affordable drinking water solutions at just Rs 1 per ltr

Vikram Gulecha’s OCEO is an IoT-enabled smart water purifier startup, a tech solution that works on providing accessible pay-as-you-use (per liter) model.

We all understand the value of clean & purified water. Water purifiers have become a must-have necessity in almost every household. And why wouldn’t it? Everyone needs clean water to drink. But something that bothered Vikram Gulecha, the founder of OCEO Smart Water Purifier, was the high cost involved in installing and maintaining the water purifiers. This might be considered as one of the reasons why the more impoverished public is not able to afford such amenities and thus rely either on cheap, low-quality products or the outdated traditional methods.

Gulecha, a former real estate businessman, sat down with his friends & family and discussed how one could invest in the right technology to create more efficiency, build a sustainable business, and above all, impact the wellbeing of a wider population. With an aim to make a perfect product that serves wellness, sustainability and comprises of high technology, the Harward dropout, along with his founding team consisting of Mahendra Dantewadiya (Manufacturing & Engineering) and supported by Hashmukh Gulecha (Operations & Finance) and Rajeev Krishna (Technology Development), built OCEO Smart Water Purifier.

Talking about their startup

OCEO is an IoT-enabled smart water purifier startup, a tech solution that works on providing accessible pay-as-you-use (per liter) model where the customer pays only for the amount of water purified and consumed. The device is installed at the user’s location without having to purchase or bear any maintenance cost for the machine, in turn giving water purification as a service with DIY maintenance.

Gulecha said,

“The real disruption has come through an intelligent blend of digital tools, internet-linked sensors, online algorithms, user-friendly analytics, and live display on the devices. We have been successful in bringing down the drinking water costs down for our users. This amount saved can be utilized for house improvement, paying tuition fees, clearing EMI of a loan, etc. for a middle-income household. In addition to this drinking, good quality water ensures health benefits as well to these families.”

A different path

Launched in 2017, the Bengaluru-based tech startup follows a new way to trace the water consumption patterns in the generation of water scarcity, making it a highly efficient new approach. A customer, as you know, only pays for the amount of water purified by the device and can also conveniently recharge/buy water credits online through a mobile & web app with integrated real-time monitoring that allows the company to perform predictive maintenance of the device.

Gulecha states,

“At the micro-level, we can capture how much water is consumed by a user [of OCEO], the use pattern, as well as the quality of water. At the macro-level, we can trace the quality of water in a particular area & help civic authorities by providing [them] data on their utility supply.”

The purifiers are connected to the cloud servers, and the firm relies on GSM or GPRS connectivity to monitor each & every drop of water during the purification process. The new approach has shown not only a lesser consumption of water but also a lower cost for the same. The company also introduced a DIY model for filter replacement when the machine is due for maintenance.

OCEO considers businesses like Apple, Google, Xerox, and Uber as their source of inspiration for building their new business model.

Current growth status & vision

OCEO Smart Water Purifier stands as a game-changer because of its smart sense technology blended with a unique user ownership model. Currently, the company delivers sustainable, affordable, safe drinking water solutions to over 1,500 families in Bengaluru. With the assistance of OCEO Smart Sensor innovation, the firm not only measures & monitor the drinking water usage but also maintain safe drinking and hygiene water at all times.

OCEO aims and visions to inspire the world with water, eliminating single-use filter membrane housing and plastic water bottles, and providing everyone access to clean drinking water anywhere they work, rest, and play.

“Our impact goes beyond the water access. We employ local people, generate monthly savings of up to 80%, reduce co2 emissions, generate new opportunities, and promote sustainable development,”

he added.